Monday, February 15, 2010

S. D. Burman: Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958/1989)

Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi is not my favourite soundtrack nor is S. D. Burman my favourite composer. None the less, this hindi comedy does have it's own charm. Kishore Kumar's "Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhagi Si" is the best song on the record, and is today considered a classic.

For a comedy, which usually tends to lack in the song department, this record tries its best to cater and reach out to the common city folk with it's modern upbeat music. I like it because its, in a way, unsophisticated and humble which makes it easy to relate to and accessible to everyone.

One of my favorite songs on the record is "Tum Tumare Hain". It's performed by the lovely Helen with her dance mentor Cukoo.

But the most important figure on this album and the "soul" behind the songs comes from Kishore Kumar's voice. He acts through his singing, this very strong asset of his makes listening to the record worthwhile. Enjoy.


Side 1

1. Title Music
2. Kishore Kumar & Manna Dey: Babu Samjho Ishare
3. Kishore Kumar: Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhagi Si
4. Kishore Kumar: Hum The Who Thi
5. Kishore Kumar & Chorus: In Hathon Se Sabki Gaadi

Side 2

6. Asha Bhosle & Kishore Kumar: Haal Kaisa Hai Jabab Ka (with dialogue)
7. Asha Bhosle & Kishore Kumar: Main Sitaron Ka Tarana
8. Asha Bhosle: Ruk Jao Na Jee
9. Asha Bhosle & Sudha Malhotra: Hum Tumhare Hain

Lyrics: Majrooh

Stella_1's score: 3/5

Get the music now: S. D. Burman Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi

Friday, February 12, 2010

Satyajit Ray: Shakespeare Wallah (1965)

While many westerners know Satyajit Ray as a director, most famously for his Apu Trilogy. The famous Bengali also gained some recent popularity as a composer with Wes Anderson's 2007 film Darjeeling Limited. The soundtrack for the film holds five compositions of his. You can also see a homage to Ray in the film as a painted portrait on the train (I posted the screencap at the bottom of the page.) One of the tracks featured on Darjeeling Limited's soundtrack called "The Desert Ballroom", the shortest track on the record, is originally from the 1965 film Shakespeare Wallah.

Shakespeare Wallah is yet another Merchant-Ivory production (see my Bombay Talkie post), directed by American James Ivory and produced by Ismail Merchant. The story is set in India, and borrows from the real life adventures of the Kendal family (in the film they are called the Buckingham's), a British travelling theater group who mostly performed Shakespeare across the sub-continent.

This is mostly an instrumental soundtrack. Ray uses, leitmotif, the classical western method of musical theme associated to a person, situation or other which in turn is used several times throughout the film. He also incorporates and mixes both western with traditional Indian music and instruments. The only actual "song" on the record is "Manjula's song". It is the only one with vocals, and is inspired by folk music as well as commercial indian soundtracks or filmi music with its dreamlike qualities. I also enjoy "Manjula's Possession" as well as "Lizzie and Sanju Backstage".

Overall, the album is melancholic and atmospheric, sometimes emotionally and sometimes to be used to describe the little unique universe in which all these characters are living in.

It's interesting how Satyajit Ray's films are very much influenced by neo-realism, but this specific soundtrack is not realist in this sense. Not to say they live in a fantasy world the characters do not live in reality per say and the music illustrates that.

I am looking for a film documentary mad e in 1984 by Utpalendu Chakrabarty called The Music of Satyajit Ray. If anyone has seen it I would sure like to hear about it. Thanks, and enjoy the music and the lovely screencap below.

Portrait of Satyajit Ray (top right corner) in Darjeeling Limited (2007) accompanied by Jason Schwartzman.


Side 1

1. Title Music

2. Cleopatra's Barge

3. Arrival of the Troupe in the Rain

4. Manjula's Procession

5. The Good Old Days

6. Mubarak Begum: Manjula's Song-Dil Dharke (Heartbeat)

Side 2

7. Pantomime

8. Bobby's Funeral

9. Love Theme - Sanju and Lizzie

10. Carla begs Lizzie to Return to England

11. The Desert Ballroom

12. Lizzie and Sanju Backstage

13. Lizzie Sails for England

Get the music now: Satyajit Ray Shakespeare Wallah